Indian Parliamentary Committees (Standing, Ad hoc and Departmental)

20/04/2024 2 By indiafreenotes

Indian Parliamentary committees play a crucial role in the legislative process, ensuring detailed examination, oversight, and feedback on a range of issues. These committees can be broadly classified into three types: Standing Committees, Ad hoc Committees, and Departmental Standing Committees.

Standing Committees

Standing committees are permanent and regular committees that are constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an act of Parliament or Rules of Parliament. They are reconstituted annually and their work goes on continuously. These committees are primarily set up to deal with the financial and administrative functions of the Parliament. Examples are:

  • Public Accounts Committee (PAC):

Examines the annual audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which are laid before the Parliament.

  • Estimates Committee:

Examines the budgets of various ministries and departments and reports on the efficiency, economy, and improvements in organization, implementation, and administration.

  • Committee on Public Undertakings:

Evaluates the functioning and performance of public sector enterprises.

Departmental Standing Committees

Introduced in 1993 to secure more detailed scrutiny of budgetary and other bills, these committees are related to specific departments or ministries. Each of these committees has members from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The main function is to consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries/departments and to examine bills pertaining to them. Some examples include:

  • Committee on Finance
  • Committee on Home Affairs
  • Committee on Defence

These committees play a crucial role during the budget session, as they analyze the budgets of respective ministries in detail and suggest modifications.

Ad hoc Committees

Ad hoc committees are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them. They are primarily set up for a specific purpose and are disbanded after their task is completed. They can be further divided into two sub-types:

  • Select Committees:

Formed for examining particular bills and typically cease to exist once the bill is passed or rejected.

  • Joint Committees:

Formed with members from both houses of Parliament to examine matters of common interest or specific bills.

Functions and Importance

  • Detailed Scrutiny:

Committees enable detailed scrutiny of all matters pertaining to the functioning of the government which is not possible in the larger parliamentary body due to time constraints.

  • Expertise:

Committees provide a forum for detailed discussion and expertise which benefits from members who have relevant experience or interest.

  • Stakeholder Interaction:

Committees often interact with experts, stakeholders, and bureaucrats to gather detailed feedback and insights which inform their reports and recommendations.

  • Influence Legislation:

Recommendations from committees often lead to modifications in legislation and policies, reflecting a thorough democratic process.

  • Accountability:

Particularly through financial committees like the PAC and the Estimates Committee, Parliament ensures financial oversight and accountability of the government to avoid misuse of public money.